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Members’ biographical register

Walter Hartwell James

Principal Honours
Knight (Kt) (1907), Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) (1931)
Date: 29 March 1863
Place: Perth, Western Australia
Son of Edward Senior, colonial commandant and publican, and Lucy Francisco
Marriage and Family
Married 21 June 1892, Anglican Church, Albany to Eleanor Marie Gwenyfred Hearder (born circa 1869, Wales), daughter of George and Marie Gordon
Children: three sons and one daughter
Widowed 11 November 1938
Date: 3 January 1943
Place: Perth, Western Australia
Cemetery: Karrakatta Cemetery, Western Australia
Church of England
Educated government schools, Perth High School
Lawyer and agent general
Employment History
Jackaroo on de Grey station for three years
Articled to George Leake in 1883, six months in barrister’s office, London
Formed James and Darbyshire 1896
Kings' Counsel 1902
Agent General for WA in London 22 September 1904–1906
On return from London resumed legal practice 1907 but Darbyshire resigned leaving debts
In partnership with RR Pilkington firm amalgamated with Edward Stone and Septimus Burt
1919 formed Stone, James & Co
Local Government Service
Perth City Council 1890–1896
Member and then chairman South Perth Road Board 1892–1898
Opposed Forrest Party
Chairman National Party 1935
Date Elected
14 June 1894
Inaugural Speech
Inaugural Video
Search for speeches by Walter James
Year Retired/Resigned
East Perth
Parliamentary Service
  • MLA East Perth 14 June 1894–4 October 1904 (resigned)
  • Contested Beverley 15 August 1910 (by election)

  • Minister without portfolio May–November 1901
  • Premier and Attorney General July 1902–August 1904

Federal Conventions
  • Delegate to Federal Convention, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne 1897–1898
Honorary secretary Barristers’ Board WA Bar 1888
Served on Perth Central Board Health, Perth Hospital Board
Served on Royal Commission to establish University of Western Australia 1909
University Senate from 1912, pro chancellor 1929–1930, Chancellor 1930–1936, 1929 first president Law Society of WA
President Weld Club 1931–1932
Director WA Newspaper Co
Hon LLD 1936
WA Bar 1888
D Black and G Bolton, eds, Biographical Register of Members of the Parliament of Western Australia: volume one 1870-1930, Parliamentary History Project, Perth, WA, 2001, p.106.
Further Information
R Erickson, The bicentennial dictionary of Western Australians
Lyall Hunt, 'James, Sir Walter Hartwell (1863–1943)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 22 December 2015. Includes family tree.
WB Kimberly,
History of West Australia. A narrative of her past, together with biographies of her leading men, FW Niven and Co, Melbourne, 1897, p. 54.
Melbourne Herald, 4 January 1943.
Morning Herald, 1 July 1902, 29 June 1904.
Russell, Enid.
A history of the law in Western Australia and its development from 1829 to 1979, University of Western Australia Press, Nedlands, WA, p. 221.
Sir Walter James’ Letters 1897–1913 (Royal Historical Society of Victoria, photocopies in Public Library of Victoria MSS collection)
West Australian, 4 January 1943.